Eni CEO: Kashagan Group United in Talks with Kazakh Government

ROME Nov 13, 2007 (Dow Jones Newswires)

The consortium behind the development of Kazakhstan's giant Kashagan oil field are united in their talks to resolve a dispute with the government of Kazakhstan over the development of the field, Paolo Scaroni, chief executive of Eni SpA (E) said Tuesday.

The "consortium is showing very reassuring unity" in talks with the Kazakh government, Scaroni said at the World Energy Congress in Rome.

The Eni-led consortium developing Kashagan is in a dispute with Kazakhstan over the buildup of costs and delays in the startup of production at the massive field.

Eni's CEO told reporters he was "positively surprised of how united," the group is.

Scaroni also said he met Rex Tillerson, chairman and chief executive of Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM) in Rome on Monday. Scaroni didn't say what was discussed.

Eni, the Kashagan operator, holds an 18.5% stake in the development consortium, the same as ExxonMobil, Royal Dutch Shell PLC (RDSB) and Total SA (TOT).

ConocoPhillips (COP) holds 9.3%, while Japan's Inpex (1605.TO) and Kazakh state oil and gas company KazMunaiGas each own 8.3%.

Eni's CEO Tuesday also said the partners don't want their overall stake to drop to below 50% in the project.

He added that when you have five oil majors in a group "it is normal to have different positions."

The Kazakh government has said it expects to have a proposal from the consortium to settle the dispute by the end of the month. Scaroni Sunday said he expects an agreement to be reached by the end of the year.

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